This has been an eye opener for us. It has been very challenging but it is now Friday evening and we have finished the week. This week we have had another typhoon which has left us with strong winds, much rain and extreme humidity. One night, in closing up the church, and locking the front gate (not an easy task in the dark), in the wind and rain, we both realised we still had our 'inside' slippers on instead of our 'outside' ones!!! Everyone at church has their slippers on a series of racks by the front door. I'd be happy to go barefoot.
Our first week of teaching has been called a 'trial' period and it is named correctly. Many of the church children, young people and adults were our students. During most lessons we had an audience as well, the pastor's wife and some of the children's parents. Several times we had a group of children aged from 5 to 11 with different levels of English ability arriving for the one class. So it was very hard for us to cater to everyone's needs based on our preparation. Jan will teach the kindergarten and beginner elementary class but Warren also must teach an elementary class as there are 2 scheduled at the same time. This has been a steep learning curve for Warren who does better talking to teenagers and adults. We are mastering the photocopier although all the buttons have Japanese instructions as does everything that we buy. It is amazing how much you can work out from a picture.
Because August is a trial time newcomers are welcome to come for a free lesson. We are having to do a lot of photocopying and preparation of pictures and flash cards as we are not to use the new books until September - the official start. The communication process often leaves us in the dark as to what each class will be like. We keep our sense of humour and have found a Denny's and a McDonalds only about 15 mins drive from our house. So far that is the only place we have been able to buy coffee.
Because on four days of the week we teach from 3.00 - 8.30, we take our dinner with us to church and have an hour's break to eat at around 5.45 - 6.45. We are learning to get organised for this new routine.
We are excited to meet our new students next week. Several hundred advertisements have gone out as inserts in the local papers. The church has made many good contacts with the community through these efforts. Both the pastor and his wife are teaching and discipling people as a result of the English classes.
In the process of us buying bedding to make our hard mattresses more comfortable, we were served by a young Japanese lady who spoke English well. When we told her we were from Brisbane, she said that she had been to Byron Bay. She has taught herself English but was very pleased to hear that we are here to teach. She has called us several times and has now contacted the pastor's wife and is coming to the class next week. We are excited to see how God will use these classes to fulfil His purposes in people's lives.
This weekend is the 'Yokkaichi Festival' with all kinds of bands, parades and fireworks. We plan to drive to a train station, park our car and catch the train into the city tomorrow to observe some of the festivities. On Monday we can go and pick up our 'alien registration' cards. 'How exciting to be an alien'!
We should have some new pictures to post over the weekend.